This week’s headlines about moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is troubling. While in my heart of hearts I see Jerusalem as the “capital” of Christianity, it makes little sense to use her as a political weapon. In fact, I believe that no good can come out of this announcement. Already, there has been violent protests around the Middle East and in parts of Asia over this decision.

Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to visit Israel, including Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron and Tel Aviv. Our sojourn was a religious and educational in its purpose. Our travel leaders were professors of Greek and Hebrew studies, our tour guide was a Christian Palestinian, and our bus driver was Muslim. It is an experience I will never forget; my heart was changed forever toward an optimistic glance at what peace could look like. Yes, there were tensions, but there more unity than I expected. Jerusalem was easy to walk around and I never felt afraid, no matter if I were near Christian, Jewish sites or, in the Muslim sections.

Tel Aviv is already a highly industrial and innovation hub, responsible for creating economic growth and increasing sustainability for the whole population. Bringing unnecessary tension by moving the embassy to Jerusalem will not be in anyone’s best interest.

Being part of a denomination where leaders speak up and out against troubling political and religious issues is what continues to strengthen my love for my church. The ELCA is constantly writing about issues which seem “political” but in reality the theological importance and relevance to social issues are what the church needs to be talking about instead of keeping silent. We have seen recently the damage that has been done by women remaining silent. It is time for the church to rise up, speak out and be heard for the benefit of Peace on Earth and Good will toward men, women and children.

This second week in Advent we will be lighting the Peace Candle, in worship. I invite you to do the same at your tables and have a conversation about what ‘Peace on Earth’ looks like, and how we can act to make our lives different, for Jesus’ sake.

Noblesville’s Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at, on Facebook or at